The chief of Bannang Satar police in Yala province has ruled out drug trafficking in the massacre of five Muslim villagers in Bannang Satar district of Yala on Sunday night saying a personal conflict was more likely.
However insurgncy related violence was not ruled out.
Pol Col Thirapong Yindee, the superintendent of the Bannang Satar police station, told reporters that although the scene of the shooting was regularly used by the victims to consume krathom, a type of addictive herb, but confirmed that no drugs were used there.
He said Ms Rohnas Museh, the sister of one of the five victims, Ibroheng Museh, has testified that many people had warned her brother to stop selling the krathomtea as he might inadvertently step on some peoples toes not least some influential crime figures in the area.
But the local police chief however stated that he believed that the sale of krathom had nothing to do with the multiple murders but was due to personal conflict.
However, he was not ruling out a possible insurgent activity.
He he said that the results of the autopsy and the forensic examination of the shell casings would paint a clearer picture of the murderers.
Yala Governor Anuchit Trakun-muthuta yesterday visited the families of the five deceased to give them moral support and formally handed each with preliminary financial support.
He admitted that although authorities have good security protocols in place but the territory is large and there are many places where authorities cannot cover.
He said authorities must now order a stricter security condition.
Meanwhile Ms Rohna admitted that her brother regularly invited his friends to the house to drink Krathom tea.
She also said that he often sold the tea to other people as well and she had scolded and warned him against his habit but he never listened to her and kept selling the tea even during Ramadan.
Several villagers told him to stop selling Krathom tea during Ramadan. They said that it was only 1 month but he didnt listen, she told authorities.
The five deceased were Ibroheng Museh, Ahmah Museh, Usman Yusoh, Furagon Laso and Aranchai Doheh.
Ibroheng and Ahmah were cousins and all were shot with assault weaponry.
The corpses of the men have been moved to the Bannang Satar General Hospital for an autopsy before finally being released to relatives for funeral rites.
Investigators collected several spent assault rifle and shotgun shell casings found all around the scene.